‘Ant-Man 3’ Box Office Shows the Limits of the Post-‘Endgame’ Marvel Cinematic Universe

Paul Rudd’s charm overcame mixed reviews, but the poor opening in China means global totals for most MCU films will be diminished

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Even as the grumblings that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is past its prime have gotten louder, the opening weekend of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has shown that Hollywood’s top franchise is still a dependable hit machine. At the same time, the sub-$1 billion global totals MCU films have earned in the past year are likely to be the norm if the new movie’s poor Chinese launch is a sign of things to come.

How far “Ant-Man 3” goes over the next month will say a lot about Marvel’s ability to create charming superheroes that audiences want to see over and over again, regardless of critics’ reviews. The studio’s new releases continue to struggle against word of mouth that falls short of the effusive praise the MCU consistently got prior to “Avengers: Endgame.” And the movie will face off against a crowded slate as more studios joust for audiences returning to theaters, including Warner Bros./New Line’s “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” MGM’s “Creed III” and Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4.”

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jeremyfuster